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News from the usc annenberg school for communication & Journalism spring 2011


Focusing on innovation

Note from the Dean

The past few months have provided clear evidence of the transformative power of communication and innovation in our global society. Recent events across the Middle East have shown us in great detail how mobile technology and social networking tools can, quite literally, lead to revolutions. The natural disaster that struck Japan was the latest in a string of global events that have unfolded before our eyes, holding us captive as we witness chilling up-to-the-second reports on our televisions and computer screens. As society seeks out new tools to understand our world, it is more important than ever to explore how the spark of constant innovation ignites our fundamental human drive to communicate. At USC Annenberg, we are at the forefront of understanding communication technology and the ways it is shaping these changes. For example, the Annenberg Innovation Lab pairs our scholars and students with leading global corporations, harnessing the power of critical thinking to the engine of entrepreneurship. Through close collaboration centered on communication, this idea incubator turns conceptual plans into concrete prototypes across a broad range of technologies, from interactive television to mobile storytell-

ing; digital products and services to new applications and business models. Earlier this month, students’ innovations were on display during the lab’s first conference, where they shared their creations with venture capitalists and the media, bringing new ideas into the public discourse and pushing the technological envelope. As you read this edition of Annenberg Agenda, you will see the other ways USC Annenberg scholars have driven innovation, including the unique story of how Peter Clarke and Susan Evans revolutionized nutrition for needy families across the country. Whether it is through creating the future of technology or helping those who need it most, our work takes on new relevance every day, helping us observe, understand and ultimately shape our world. Sincerely,

Dean Ernest J. Wilson III Walter H. Annenberg Chair in Communication

heard at annenberg

[The Financial Times is] becoming the Amazon of newspapering. They are looking at their readership and watching how they’re reading, and what they’re reading, and adjusting. They’re using it to drive their ad business in all kinds of ways. They are sharing information with their advertisers … on a real-time basis, the only newspaper company I’ve ever heard of doing that. They’re saying we have all this information, this data, going through our enterprise. And what they’re creating is this new virtuous circle.” Ken Doctor, media analyst and author of Newsonomics, speaking at USC Annenberg on Jan. 25

F e at u r e s


Food for thought

spring 2011

After communication professor Peter Clarke and researcher Susan Evans helped the Los Angeles Food Bank deliver healthier food to the community, they thought their ideas would catch on around the country. They learned that sometimes innovations need champions.




Amelia Brodka, Jackson DeMos, Gretchen Parker, Jeremy Rosenberg, Sammi Wong CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Dan Avila, Stuart Brinin, Phil Channing, Dietmar Quistorf, Gus Ruelas, Maggie Smith

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The sporting life


USC Annenberg kicked off the Institute of Sports, Media and Society with a marquee event bringing together some of the biggest names in sports. Agents, executives, broadcasters and athletes all agreed: Good sportsmanship matters.

Ernest J. Wilson III, Dean Larry Gross, Director, School of Communication Geneva Overholser, Director, School of Journalism

Leslie Baker Graphic Design

The idea incubator With more than half a million dollars in corporate R&D funding, the Annenberg Innovation Lab is cultivating big ideas and watching them grow. The result is a new paradigm for collaboration between academic institutions and cuttingedge corporations.

also inside... News Briefs


Special Focus: Innovation


Faculty Notes Research News Alumni Notes

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Jarl Mohn, Chair Ron Rogers, Vice Chair Wallis Annenberg Carole Black Lauren Bon Louise Henry Bryson Janet Clayton Frank H. Cruz Harris Diamond William Guthy Seok Hyun Hong Larry Irving Mickey Kantor Markos Kounalakis Norman Lear Wendy Luers Paula Madison Marc B. Nathanson Bruce M. Ramer Linda Johnson Rice Cristine Russell Frederick J. Ryan Jr. Lenny Sands Rockwell A. Schnabel Wellen Sham Jeffrey Smulyan Donald Tang Charles Annenberg Weingarten Gregory Annenberg Weingarten Ernest J. Wilson III John F. Cooke, Chair Emeritus Ronald L. Olson, Founding Chair

Annenberg Agenda is published twice a year by the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism. We welcome your feedback. Send your comments to

The University of Southern California admits students of any race, color, and national or ethnic origin.

news briefs

Multicultural musician

Manu Chao vocalizes his political views

World-renowned musician Manu Chao visited USC Annenberg to discuss what it means to live and work in a global society. After a conversation with communication and journalism professor Josh Kun, part of the of the USC Annenberg Distinguished Lecture Series on Latin AmeriManu Chao can Arts and Culture, Chao performed some of his songs for the audience. Chao began his successful career with the 1980s multiracial French band Mano Negra. He has since gone solo, singing politically fueled

songs in Spanish, Arabic, Portuguese, Galician and English, among other languages. Chao proposed a borderless society, where all communities and cultures can live and grow together. He said if the world can’t learn to work together, it eventually will destroy itself. He portrayed his perspective by performing the song “Bienvenida a Tijuana,” which deals with the issue of immigration and opportunity across the border. He advocated for increased free trade, saying that agricultural and factory-based businesses in industrialized countries make money only because they can pay the youth of the third world less-than-legal wages. “I think we have to find a place where all communities join and try to live together,” Chao said. To learn more, visit

FOX Sports West works with USC Annenberg

develop new marketing campaign

students to

Mobile goes global Members of the Mobile Voices/Voces Móviles project team, including Sasha Costanza-Chock (Ph.D. Communication ‘10) (left) and Amanda Lucia Garces, accept their World Summit Award, sponsored by the United Nations. Mobile Voices, which allows day laborers in Los Angeles to publish multimedia reports on their lives through their cell phones, was one of 40 projects worldwide recognized by the U.N. for innovative use of mobile technology. USC Annenberg researchers collaborated with the Institute for Popular Education of Southern California, which works closely with Los Angeles’ day laborer community, to create the service.

To learn more, visit 2 annenberg agenda

FOX Sports West began its third collaborative marketing project with USC Annenberg in a graduate class offered in the Fall 2010 semester. FOX Sports West executives worked with students in Kim Stephens’ class, Communication Management 587: Audience Analysis, in order to come up with a marketing campaign that would boost web traffic for Five groups of students competed for a chance to continue to work on the campaign with FOX Sports West outside of the classroom. Each group conducted Web usability studies, online surveys and focus groups in order to try to establish a winning slogan that would help draw and maintain a dedicated audience. At the conclusion of the work, Stephens’ students presented their research and pitched their ideas to FOX Sports West managers. “It’s ideal for us, because we want to reach the younger demographic. The class allows us to engage with very sharp young minds. Their thought processes are unbelievable, and they come back with fantastic ideas that will appeal to their generation,” says Chris Hannan, senior vice president of marketing for FOX Regional Sports Networks. Ultimately, Hannan and his colleagues chose a program anchored by the slogan “Are You In?” and will integrate elements from other pitches. To learn more, visit

Yahoo! editor reveals tips and tricks for writing on the web Chris Barr, senior editorial director for Yahoo! News and the lead editor of “The Yahoo! Style Guide: The Ultimate Sourcebook for Writing, Editing and Creating Content for the Digital World,” visited USC Annenberg to give students advice on writing for the web. “You have five to 10 seconds to hook readers. If you bury the lede on the web, readers won’t invest time in the story,” Barr told students. Among Barr’s tips:

// Shape your text for online reading. People read Chris Barr

computer screens differently from printed materials. Modify your writing to get your message across.

// Get to the point. Put the most important information up front, where readers can find it quickly.

// Make text scannable. Arrange your content so that it’s easy to scan

// Write for the world. The web is available around the globe. Will your text be understood in Hong Kong? New Delhi? Rome?

// Improve readability and navigation. It’s not just the designer’s

job to make a website easy to use—it’s the content creator’s, too.

Barr emphasized the repetition of keywords between two and four times in a 300-word story, but without making the story sound redundant. He also encouraged students to be concise and appease the more curious readers by providing links to three relevant pages in each story. “Accuracy and clarity are more important than cleverness,” Barr said. “You want to lure readers, but you don’t want to be sensational or sound like an advertisement.” To learn more and to download Barr’s presentation, visit

for key words and phrases.

Student media provide

comprehensive coverage of presidential visit

USC student journalists covered every aspect of President Barack Obama’s Oct. 22 visit to campus, posting stories and live updates continuously from before dawn until late in the night. Annenberg TV News, Neon Tommy, Annenberg Radio News, and USC’s Daily Trojan all provided wall-to-wall coverage of the event, which brought the president to campus for a pre-election fundraising speech. Reporters from the various outlets interviewed attendees, discussed the logistics of a presidential visit with USC officials and streamed the speech live over the Internet. “There could be no finer illustration President Barack Obama addresses a USC crowd during an Oct. 22 of how important campaign stop. journalism students are to meeting the public’s information needs in this new media environment than the work done by our students covering President Obama’s visit,” says journalism school director Geneva Overholser. “It was a true privilege to have the opportunity to report on a sitting president 100 feet from our newsroom,” says Neon Tommy editor-inchief Callie Schweitzer.

Broadcast journalism student Trevor Thompson was one of three ATVN student reporters doing live shots from the main camera position in front of Doheny Library. “It made me so happy and I felt so honored to be a part of an organization where individuals really go above and beyond the call of duty to get things done,” says ATVN executive producer Christian Martinez. Overholser says she was glued to ATVN’s live stream throughout the day. “Add in the phenomenal work done by Neon Tommy, as well as the constant stream of interesting updates by Annenberg Radio News and ATVN staff, and you have a comprehensive, multimedia news package I would put up against any news organization’s coverage of a major event anywhere,” Overholser says.

To learn more, visit

spring 2011



Body image issues laid bare in student’s book Communication student Katherine Schwarzenegger, daughter of former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Maria Shriver, authored a book, Rock What You’ve Got: Secrets to Loving Your Inner and Outer Beauty, which was released in September. The inspiration for her book came from a conversation she overheard between her 8-year-old cousins who were complaining about their bodies. Having grown up in the public eye as a member of a prominent family, Schwarzenegger holds a unique point of view concerning body issues. She says this book came out of her drive to counsel not just her own young cousins but other girls struggling with self-doubts and anxiety about their bodies. She wanted to speak to a wider audience.

A slam-dunk evening for

“I never thought I would write a book,” she says, “but my fuel came from research and information on the growing number of girls who feel so much pressure to be thin— and the young age at which all of this is starting. My goal is to spread the word about what young girls are going through today, and to let girls know they’re not alone.”

Chick Hearn Scholarship winners

Broadcast journalism students Claire Atkins and Alex Wilk earned

The alumni in attendance included Zeus Ayter (B.A. Broadcast

one of the biggest recognitions aspiring sports broadcasters can

Journalism ’04), a producer at FOX Sports and the inaugural win-

hope for when they were named recipients of the 2011 Chick Hearn

ner of the scholarship in the 2003–04 academic year. Jesse Aron

Memorial Scholarship.

(B.A. Broadcast Journalism ’05), who won in 2004–05, and Jeremy

At left, journalism school director Geneva Overholser (left) joins Claire Atkins, Alex Wilk, and Marge and Kayla Hearn at center court for the award presentation. Right, previous scholarship awardees and members of the Hearn family give the “Fight On!” sign around a bronze statue of Chick Hearn outside Staples Center. In a night that both Atkins and Wilk described as surreal, the pair were interviewed by FOX Sports West before the Nov. 21 game between the

Hall (B.A. Broadcast Journalism ’09), a winner in 2008–09, who work alongside each other at FOX Sports, also made the game.

L.A. Lakers and the Golden State Warriors. Then, at halftime, the students

Aron says the Chick Hearn Scholarship directly led to his

walked to center court with journalism school director Geneva Overholser

current role as a feature producer, and Hall agrees. “It seems

and members of Hearn’s family to receive their awards.

like you’re destined for great things if you win this award,”

Atkins, a Nashville, Tenn., native, and Wilk, a native Angeleno, never thought their names would be announced on the big speaker in the middle of a Lakers game. This year’s event brought back many past scholarship winners to witness the ceremonies.

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Hall said. The Chick Hearn Memorial Scholarship was established in 2002 with support from the Hearn family, the Lakers and Chick’s many fans, in tribute to the legendary announcer.

establishes $1 million

Lucky alumna endowed scholarship

When alumna Jacki Wells Cisneros and her husband, Gilbert Cisneros, won the Mega Millions lottery in 2010, they vowed to give back to their church and their alma maters. They have followed through with that pledge, donating $1 million to USC Annenberg to establish the Wells Cisneros Scholarship, which will be given to promising students who have been admitted to one of the school’s undergradGilbert Cisneros and Jacki Wells Cisneros uate programs. Award recipients must demonstrate strong interest in the field of journalism, communication, public relations or public diplomacy. Extra consideration will be given to students who are of Latin American descent, from the state of California and have a demonstrated financial need. The $25,000 scholarship is renewable each year, provided that the students achieve standards set by the faculty and maintain a 3.0 GPA. “Gilbert and I both really value education,” Wells Cisneros says. “Latino students have a lower graduation rate in college, and we feel it’s often because of financial reasons. We want to allow them to take finances out of the equation so they can get the education they desire.” The couple also hopes to extend their generosity beyond financial aid; they want to be mentors as well. “It’s not about, ‘Hey, here’s some money,’” she says. “We’ve been in the situations these students will be in and want to be here for them. We can share our experiences and knowledge, and hopefully help them make good life decisions.” Wells Cisneros will be an especially helpful resource to students interested in broadcast journalism because she has years of experience in the field. She is a long time newswoman who, after learning her husband held a $266 million lottery ticket, still finished her shift at KNBC-TV. “I can’t imagine not working,” she says. “It’s a foreign concept to me. I’m too young to retire.” The first Wells Cisneros Scholarship will be awarded to a student entering in the 2011–12 academic year, and another recipient will be added the following year. Because the Wells Cisneros Scholarship is endowed, USC Annenberg will be able to have two recipients on a permanent basis. “Meeting that first student will be so cool,” Wells Cisneros says. “I’m excited to watch him or her grow and develop. Being able to fund scholarships like these make us feel like we’re making a real difference.”


Student Bulletins // Laurel Felt spent the summer in Senegal working with the African Health Education Network (RAES) on its program Sunukaddu, which trains teens to communicate about health issues including HIV/AIDS.

// Lori Kido Lopez presented a talk, “Beyond Nation and Assimilation: New Directions in Asian American Media Activism,” at the conference Citizenship in the U.S.: Integrating Domestic and International Horizons in Bloomington, Ind.

// Katrina Pariera presented a paper titled “Seeking Health Information on the Web: How Visual and Textual Cues Contribute to Website Credibility Assessments” at the International Conference on Health, Wellness and Society in January at UC Berkeley.

// Nikki Usher published an article in the September issue of New Media & Society titled “Goodbye to the News: How Out-of-Work Journalists Assess Enduring News Values and the New Media Landscape.” In the fall she will start as an assistant professor at George Washington University’s School of Media and Public Affairs.

Selected job announcements for graduating doctoral students // John Cheney-Lippold will be serving as an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Program in American Culture.

// Lauren Frank has accepted the position of assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Portland State University.

// Joe Phua has joined the faculty of Grady College’s Department of Advertising and Public Relations at the University of Georgia.

spring 2011



Pass the innovation, please By Gretchen Parker

When USC professors Peter Clarke and Susan Evans set out to help the L.A. Regional Food Bank provide more nutritious meals to needy families, they thought their local solutions would work in cities around the country. They soon learned that there’s no standard recipe for success. A national enterprise we all take for granted—food banks—is getting a lot of attention these days, as a record recession straps home grocery budgets and the numbers of low-income families increase. But most Americans don’t realize what a public health success story these

nurtured by communication professor Peter Clarke and his colleague, researcher Susan H. Evans. They stumbled upon this innovation in better nutrition in 1991, when they learned of a Los Angeles program started by veteran produce wholesaler Mickey Weiss. They thought it would

in an article in Stanford University’s Social Innovation Review. And where they thought it would be easy, they quickly found out that it wasn’t. “We came up against a brick wall, and for the longest time we couldn’t figure out what we were doing wrong,” Clarke says. “That was the first

Lots of people from academic organizations have great ideas about what we can do, but they don’t understand the obstacles we come up against. Peter and Susan are problem solvers. So, over the years, they’ve been connecting us to people with solutions.” agencies have to tell. And that it almost didn’t happen. Over the last 20 years, one at a time, 156 food banks nationwide have begun stocking and distributing vast surpluses of fresh, nutritious produce that otherwise would have been dumped in landfills. It was a revolutionary change in the operation of food banks, which traditionally stocked canned and processed foods—cereal, soda, candy and convenience foods. But transplanting that innovation from city to city didn’t happen on its own. Each program was initiated and

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take a year to teach food banks about the value of produce and kick off a chain of programs. Two years later, they were just getting the first program running. It may seem an unlikely project for two academics. Clarke was dean of USC Annenberg at the time, and Evans was the school’s director of academic development. But they saw an opportunity they couldn’t turn away from: “We were looking at a potential major public health intervention the likes of which academic researchers can only dream,” they wrote recently

two years. It was a long time in the wilderness—plenty of time to lose your enthusiasm.” The problem was Clarke and Evans were trying to spark copycats of the L.A. program in other cities. They landed a grant and held a conference, but after the first year, the participants had made no substantial progress, even with constant prodding. They started to realize that transforming food bank operations was a complicated task, and that replication would not work. Each new program would have to be tailored to meet its own needs and overcome its

own obstacles to nail the logistics of dealing with tons of food with a short shelf life. With an intense refocus on customization instead of replication, they started in Baltimore—where they resorted to spending $1,000 of their own money to buy a food bank a new refrigerator and jumpstart the program. Next were Chicago, Dallas and Kansas City, Mo. Then Annapolis, Md., and St. Paul, Minn. Clarke and Evans became experts in everything from refrigeration, warehouses and forklifts to trucks, trailers and the electrical panels of local soup kitchens. Now the food banks they worked with are distributing more than 400 million pounds of fresh produce each year across 47 states. “They rolled up their sleeves, and they walked the walk,” says Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “Peter and Susan have been down at the produce markets and the wholesaler markets with us. They have walked the floors of our warehouses, our food pantries and our soup kitchens.” In Chicago, the program that Clarke and Evans initiated in 1994 now distributes 66 million pounds of produce each year to a network of 650 food pantries, kitchens and homeless shelters. “It’s pretty remarkable,” Maehr says. “I have lots of people from academic organizations who have great ideas about what I can do, but they haven’t walked in these shoes. They don’t understand the obstacles we come up against. Peter and Susan are problem solvers. So, over the years, they’ve been connecting us to people with solutions, and they’ve understood that operational piece.”

Michael Flood (left), president and CEO of the Los Angeles Food Bank, with Evans and Clarke in the food bank’s warehouse

Even more than operations, Clarke and Evans changed the way Chicago and other cities think about food banking, she says. “It’s not just a hunger issue; it’s a public health issue. If we don’t do this, low-income people won’t have access to fresh produce in our communities. And that’s all Peter and Susan,” she says. Evans and Clarke had to teach food bankers about the public health consequences of the food they distributed and about trends in obesity and diabetes. It was a new way of thinking for food banks focused solely on getting food—just about any kind of food—to hungry people. “I remember, almost 20 years ago, Susan was lecturing me on something called ‘Type 2 diabetes.’ And we were just trying to help families get food,” says Eric Cooper, president and CEO of the San Antonio Food Bank. Cooper also worked with Clarke and Evans at food banks in Salt Lake City and Dallas. “It wasn’t easy. The produce would spoil, or it’s too ripe or rotten, and there are flies and disposal costs and refrigeration and all those barriers,” Cooper says.

“But they just started to address them and look for solutions.” Clarke and Evans never let up. “They were just very bold and aggressive and passionate, and you felt that they really believed in what they were doing and it helped you believe this was the right thing to do,” says Cooper. “They would challenge you to do it. You had to stop making excuses. You just had to do it.” Clarke and Evans are still solving problems and driving innovation at food banks. But they hope their experiences can influence an even wider field of innovators, especially those spreading social programs. “There are all kinds of ‘orphan’ social innovations out there where people are doing something efficient and imaginative— whether it’s removing graffiti, improving literacy or curbing teen pregnancy,” Evans says. “If these talented and energetic people could learn from our lessons, they could make greater headway in getting these programs adopted in other cities across the country without the pain and struggle we endured.”

spring 2011


SPECIAL FOCUS: sports, media & society

Making the call for sportsmanlike conduct By Jackson DeMos

At a kickoff event for the USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media & Society, a group of sports experts said ethics and professionalism are the keys to the future of the business of sports. The deep ties between professional sports and American culture personified themselves in a panel of industry heavyweights at an event marking the launch of the USC Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media & Society. Among the experts on stage was Scott Boras, one of the most successful sports agents ever. Seated next to him was FOX Sports broadcaster Pat O’Brien, as well as Olympic ice skater Tara Lipinski, longtime sports and entertainment executive Joseph Heitzler and David Neal (B.A. Journalism ’78), who produced NBC’s coverage of six Olympic Games. Despite their wide variety of perspectives on the role of sports in modern society, the panelists found a point of agreement: Values and ethics are essential to their professional success. Heitzler used an example from 2001, when, as president and CEO of Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART), he

Pat O’Brien (left), Tara Lipinski, Joseph Heitzler and David Neal discuss sports, media and society at the kickoff event. But Lipinski, who won a gold medal at the age of 15, said it is less about age than knowledge. “You can be young and want to achieve things,” she said.

made the move to cancel a race because he feared for driver

“What’s important is knowing what you’re talking about. Know

safety on a track never before used by CART. Fans criticized the

your sport inside and out. Know you have the facts. When you

move because it came one week before the race, but Heitzler

write something, know it’s legit.”

stood by his decision, saying he felt he had no alternative.

Neal said young communication professionals must provide

“I think the secret to all of this is the next generation

their own moral compass because there are many different types

coming up has to have a core value system that they’re going to have to be rigid with and absolutely passionate about,” Heitzler said. Boras said that although schools teach students the importance of professional journalism, the temptation to produce coverage designed to score quick ratings shouldn’t be underestimated. “We have to define what type of journalism we’re dealing

of media outlets where they can work. “Ultimately you have to be your own toughest critic,” Neal said. “By going to a school like USC Annenberg, you’re going to be better equipped than most students coming out of other universities, but you have to know right from wrong.” Dean Ernest J. Wilson III made a similar point in his remarks introducing the panel, highlighting USC Annenberg’s unique ability to explore the issues at hand. “As a school located in one

with,” Boras said. “I know in the baseball industry, the people

of the sports-rich media capitals of the world—to say nothing of

covering the sport every day, they’re the best. When you do

a sports-rich campus—we are extremely well positioned to be a

talk radio and people are there for a ratings scale and to get

leader in this arena,” he said.

a reaction, that is a product of journalism as well. That affects the journalists out there doing their job.” O’Brien said part of the broadcast media’s problem is that students today rush too fast to get to a professional level

In addition to a series of expert events, which are made possilbe by Nike, the Institute sponsors professional-development activities and an academic minor in sports, media & society.

where they do not yet belong. “Even now, in this fast-moving time, there is groundwork to be laid,” he said. “You don’t have to be your idols or mentors right away.”

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To learn more, visit


From the faculty bookshelf... “Two Regimes of Global Health” By Andrew Lakoff Article in Humanity: An International Journal of Human Rights, Humanitarianism and Development, Volume 1, Issue 1 (Fall 2010) In this article, communication professor Andrew Lakoff analyzes the extent to which the movement toward global health is unified. He acknowledges the efforts of organizations such as philanthropic foundations, development agencies and biomedical research institutes, but argues that their understandings of global threats contradict one another. He highlights the role of two global health regimes, global health security and humanitarian biomedicine, and how the two are cooperating to face the rise of globally spread infectious diseases. Portrait of Camelot: A Thousand Days in the Kennedy White House By Richard Reeves Abrams Books Journalism professor Richard Reeves (with Harvey Sawler) crafts this intimate narrative depicting the depth of John F. Kennedy to accompany the significant photographs of Cecil Stoughton, the first White House photographer, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of JFK’s election. Alongside Stoughton’s presidential portraits of JFK at state dinners and cabinet meetings, as well as casual shots of the Kennedys on family trips, Reeves portrays JFK as more than a great national leader, but also as a caring father and husband. Global Terrorism and New Media: the Post-Al-Qaeda Generation Co-authored by Philip Seib Routledge “Communication is at the heart of terrorism,” write journalism professor Philip Seib and his co-author, Dana M. Janbek, as they study the way that terrorists have adapted to the evolution of communication technology to manipulate new media. The book discusses the potential for the growth of online terrorism using Web 2.0 and social media and analyzes past counterterrorism strategies in a newmedia context.

A New Culture of Learning: Cultivating the Imagination for a World of Constant Change Co-authored by Douglas Thomas CreateSpace Communication professor Douglas Thomas works alongside Internet expert John Seeley Brown to provide a solution to the challenges of education and learning in today’s rapidly evolving knowledge culture. By integrating play, imagination and innovation into educational environments, Thomas and Brown present an achievable way to adapt learning to a world of consistently changing technology. Soft Power in China: Public Diplomacy Through Communication By Jian (Jay) Wang Palgrave Macmillan Public relations professor Jay Wang edited this collection of essays portraying the development of China’s public diplomacy efforts. As China’s power continues to expand, its government relies on international communication strategies in order to address the resulting soft power challenge. The book follows the pressures China faces to rebrand and re-create its image. “The Mapping Principle and a Research Framework for Virtual Worlds” By Dimitri Williams Article in Communication Theory, Volume 20, Issue 4 (November 2010) Communication professor Dimitri Williams published this article arguing for the use of virtual worlds by communication scholars as a way to study real-world behaviors. The article addresses the challenge of ensuring that behaviors in a digital space are consistent with real-life behaviors. Williams presents a research framework that includes the development of a “mapping principle” and an exploration of potential misuses and issues of validity and reliability.

Hot off the USC Annenberg Press... Special edition of online academic journal features papers by Nobel Prize winners The USC Annenberg Press released a special edition of Information Technologies and International Development, a journal focused on the role of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in global economic development. The edition includes “The Mobile and the World,” by Amartya Sen, a Harvard economist who won the 1998 Nobel Prize for his contributions to welfare economics, and “Some Thoughts on ICT and Growth,” by Michael Spence, an NYU business professor and 2001 Nobel Prize winner for economics.

spring 2011


faculty notes

Journalism professor Dan Birman’s documentary

Communication professor Tom Hollihan gave a lecture

years of the life of 16-year-old Cyntoia Brown as

discussed the rhetoric of President Obama and the

“Me Facing Life: Cyntoia’s Story,” which traces six she serves a life sentence for murder, aired on PBS’ “Independent Lens” on March 1. Birman, who

at the University of Mannheim in Germany. His speech resulting Republican response.

financed the documentary on his own while working to gain Brown’s trust, says making the film was a rewarding experience. “I got into this business to make a difference,” he says.

A team led by communication professor Andrea

Hollingshead and USC Marshall School of Business professor of management and organization Peter

Carnevale was one of 10 research groups selected for the Communication professor and Wallis Annenberg

USC Stevens Institute for Ideas Empowered Class of

Manuel Castells was awarded the 2011 Erasmus

ing: Crowdsourcing solutions to complex problems via

impact of communication technology on society.

resources, as well as a $50,000 grant for project expenses.

Academy of Political and Social Science as the

Henry Jenkins, who holds the title of Provost’s Profes-

Chair in Communication Technology & Society

2010. Their innovative research project, titled “Crowdsolv-

Medal by Academia Europaea for his work on the

collaboration,” earned extensive access to mentoring and

He also has been inducted into the American Harold Lasswell Fellow.

sor of Communication, Journalism and Cinematic Arts, was listed third on Prospect magazine’s list of “Top 10

Journalism professor Dana Chinn co-authored a report for the Knight Foundation focusing on

calculating the impact of community news sites on the areas they cover.

Brains of the Digital Future.” Rounding out the top

three were Tim Berners-Lee, credited by many as the

inventor of the World Wide Web, and Susan Crawford, who served as President Obama’s Special Assistant

for Science, Technology, and Innovation Policy until December 2009.

Journalism professor and director of Annenberg

Digital News Marc Cooper spoke about new media and politics at the Personal Democracy Forum in

Santiago, Chile, along with speakers from Argen-

tina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Guatemala, Mexico, Peru and the U.S.

Journalism and communication professor Félix

Gutiérrez received the 2011 Lionel C. Barrow Jr.

Award for distinguished achievement in diversity research and education from the Association for

Education in Journalism and Mass Communica-

tion. He also was chosen co-moderate the 2010 John Breaux Symposium at Louisiana State University, focusing on the societal role of ethnic media. 10 annenberg agenda

Communication and journalism professor Josh Kun

hosted and spoke at the event “At the Edge of Urban

Identity,” a part of the TEDxSF conference. His pre-

sentation, which paired a lecture with a performance by the ethnically diverse band Ozomatli, emphasized the role of music in cultural identity and tradition.

Communication professor Andrew Lakoff is the senior

editor of the journal Public Culture, which seeks a critical understanding of global culture. Lakoff also presented his paper “The Imaginative Enactment of Catastro-

phe” at the Institute of Public Knowledge in New York City and discussed “The Normative Orders of Global Health” in the Sawyer Seminar on Human Rights.

Fulk and Monge deliver Wellen Sham Lecture in Shanghai Communication professors Janet Fulk and Peter Monge were joint presenters at the 2010 Wellen Sham Distinguished Lecture at Fudan University in Shanghai. Monge’s lecture, “Theories of Communication Networks,” addressed criticisms of the study of communication as being entirely theoretical. Through this lecture, Monge demonstrated the way in which communication network implications within social science theories can be used to test the theories. Monge dissected the evolution of social networking sites and the diffusion of the new features within them. Fulk’s speech, “Networks Among Global Non-Governmental Organizations,” focused on the use of mobilization and political and access opportunity structures and framing in the advancement of global NGOs. Professor Fulk also discussed a research program focused on testing network partner choice, external network connections and the dynamics of the entire global NGO network. The Wellen Sham Lecture, which is designed to encourage discourse between scholars at USC Annenberg and Fudan University, was funded by a generous gift from the Wellen Sham Family.

Communication professor Lynn Miller served on a

Communication professor and director of debate

and Infectious Diseases. Miller read proposals request-

National Developmental Conference on Debate at

peer-review panel for the National Institute of Allergy ed by health officials in the U.S. and India to create HIV/AIDS prevention strategies in both countries.

Praise continues to pour in for journalism professor

Richard Reeves’ book, Daring Young Men: The Heroism and Triumph of the Berlin Airlift. The book was named

and forensics Gordon Stables co-chaired the third Wake Forest University. The proceedings of the conference led to the publication of the book Navigating Opportunity: Policy Debate in the 21st Century, which aims to chart the future of debate in various forums around the globe.

the best nonfiction book of 2010 by The Christian

Communication professor Douglas Thomas delivered

debate on the legacy of the 40th president as part of the

lecture, “Technology Outlaws and the Morality

Presidential Library.

discussed the way in which the consistent growth

Science Monitor. Reeves also participated in a political

a lecture on morality in game environments. His

Reagan Centennial Celebration at the Ronald Reagan

of Play,” given at the Penn Humanities Forum,

Journalism professor Joe Saltzman was named the

national journalism and mass communication teacher of the year by the Scripps Howard Foundation.

Saltzman was cited for his influence on journalism at USC and his Image of the Journalist in Popular Culture research project.

Journalism professor and USC Center on Public

Diplomacy director Philip Seib gave a series of lectures in Budapest, Hungary, on the importance of Central

of technology has enabled individuals to create and

defend their own moral codes. Thomas emphasized

the fact that law has failed to keep pace with technology, allowing for moral ambiguity.

Journalism professor Sandy Tolan traveled to Istanbul to give a series of readings and discussions about his book The Lemon Tree: An Arab, a Jew, and the Heart of the Middle East. He spoke at the Istanbul Book

Fair, BahÇeşehir University and at the home of the American Consulate.

Europe in U.S. foreign policy.

spring 2011


cover feature

12 annenberg agenda

Out-of-the-box (and in the game) thinking How do you turn innovation into action? Working alongside some of the world’s most dynamic corporations and supported by R&D seed money, the Annenberg Innovation Lab is bringing bright ideas into the real world. By Scott Fields Less than a year old, the Annenberg Innovation Lab is well on its way to becoming a thriving corporate think tank in emerging media technology, where out-of-the-box dreams are already turning into reality. Take Michael Morgan, a graduate student at the Rossier School of Education, whose dream has been to create an e-book platform that would transform students in high school English classes into collaborative authors. Now, he is doing just that as part of an Innovation Lab project in partnership with Apple. He has formed a team of fellow graduate students from the Thornton School of Music, the School for Cinematic Arts, the Roski School of Fine Arts and the Viterbi School of Engineering to help him reach his goal. Or take Erin Reilly, research director for Project New Media Literacies at USC Annenberg and the creative director of the Innovation Lab, also partnering with Apple, as well as Cinematic Arts students. She’s creating an iPhone application that will function as an interactive travel appli-

cation, enabling tourists to leave a digital message at sites they visit in a kind of reverse souvenir process, and then to share the media with other travelers. Or take Natalia Bogolasky, a specialized journalism graduate student, who is partnering with David Radcliff to create WheelzUp, a mobile app that allows individuals with disabilities to rate and share information about disabled access at venues worldwide. The project was inspired by Radcliff ’s idea to write a book about his failed attempt to spend a semester abroad in Australia because he was unable to find venues that accommodated his cerebral palsy. “I realized this idea had much more potential if it was an online project, if it was user aggregated,” Bogolasky explains. The list of dreams transforming into truly compelling projects goes on and on… Equipping an idea test kitchen The Annenberg Innovation Lab, founded last September with the mission of solving marketplace dilemmas, as well as to

broaden and deepen the interaction between students and the business world, is fostering the design of software prototypes that will run on digital books, televisions, computers and mobile devices. “We enable the sponsoring corporations to take advantage of an ongoing engagement with thousands of USC students, who are both creators and consumers of the digital frontier,” explains communication professor and Innovation Lab director Jonathan Taplin. The program’s sponsors—IBM, Verizon, Levi Strauss & Co. and Mattel—have collectively donated more than half a million dollars in funding, in addition to consultant time, new software and equipment. In some cases, concepts originate from the student and faculty participants; in other cases, they emanate from corporate research and development departments. Often, the idea is hatched somewhere in between. “We’re thinking about the bigger questions these companies may not have the

spring 2011



time to consider. They give us parameters, tell us what they’re interested in, and then we respond,” says Taplin, pointing to Levi’s as an example. “They have 2 million Facebook fans, yet they didn’t really understand what that meant. We’re doing a lot of interesting deep research to find out.” Manoj Lamba, social marketing manager for Levi Strauss in San Francisco, says the work the company is doing with USC Annenberg “involves the most im-

Suro explains that the system can analyze large multiple documents, such as records of campaign contributions or government contracts. “You can do examinations across multiple data sets at any time very efficiently,” he explains. Taplin emphasizes the mutual benefits of the partnership. “IBM is giving us a great deal of input from their developers and researchers to help us understand how the system works,” he says. “They’ll be learning about it by asking ques-

users view short video documentaries highlighting a social challenge in a specific community. The videos include a call to action, in hope of prompting the user to create a proposal to address the challenges. “The projects put out to the crowd for collaboration all have a local sponsor in particular areas around the globe, most likely a nonprofit NGO,” explains Balsamo, pointing to a sample project studying the need for better primary

“The critical distinction between USC Annenberg and other labs is that we put cultural questions on the agenda first. We ask the important questions about culture, and then figure out what technologies would be best to address the needs that are uncovered.” portant and critical digital strategies that we have at Levi’s in 2011 and 2012.” “We’ve been looking to tap into bright and visionary minds in the social media world,” Lamba continues. “We view the Innovation Lab as an incredibly strong communications and engineering academic think tank, and also one that is equally focused on driving business results for us. The lab’s vision is to continue to understand the social frontier, which is something we at Levi’s are equally passionate about.” The group also is bringing its collective intelligence to bear in collaboration with IBM. The lab has been hosting a slew of visits from IBM consultants to train faculty and students in unique software that the company has created to store and classify large collections of data. “These new programs give us the ability to look at the web and social networks in a much more comprehensive way than we have before,” journalism professor Roberto Suro says. “The system will have tremendous capacity, so you can cull many hundreds of thousands of websites and archive them and keep track of what you have.” 14 annenberg agenda

tions.… They’re learning about their products from us, and we’re getting the benefit of the products.” By that, Taplin is referring to the potential of the IBM software to be applied in academic settings, fulfilling one of the lab’s missions: to facilitate knowledge transfer from the private sector to academia. “We’re taking technologies that exist in the private sector— that are being developed for commercial purposes—and seeing how they can be applied to academic research,” he says. Innovating a better tomorrow For Anne Balsamo, a communication professor who holds a joint appointment at the USC School of Cinematic Arts and is director of learning at the lab, “The critical distinction between USC Annenberg and other innovation labs is that we put cultural questions on the agenda first,” she says. “We ask the important questions about culture, and then figure out what technologies would be best to address the needs that are uncovered.” As one example, Balsamo points to Project Sangha, a web platform for crowdsourcing social innovation, where

education in a specific region in India in order to increase literacy rates. “If you could eradicate illiteracy, you would be eliminating a global problem. All of the details to be examined lie between the global problem and the local context.” Erin Reilly has a similar perspective to Balsamo’s. “The process of design and development involves thinking about how the project will impact changes in society—how we can help our world instead of building technology for technology’s sake,” she says. Reilly is shepherding the Mother Road project, based on a pilot program she executed last summer while traveling Route 66 with her family. It is intended to be an iPhone application enabling travelers to obtain a list of attractions to visit in a given area by scanning “Stickybit” bar codes they come across in various locations. Reilly also plans to use it as the basis of what she is calling the “Evocative Places” e-book series. “We can already post images of our world on Facebook and other online media, but we always have our face to the screens,” she says. She explains that on her trip across Route 66 she left

small replicas of the iconic 1950s “teardrop trailers”on the counters at diners and convenience stores. Attached to each trailer was a Stickybit bar code, as well as a sign that asked other travelers to scan the bar code with their smart phones in order to bring up Reilly’s introductory video on their smartphone screen. “In my video message, I asked them to add their own stories to the narrative, which many of them did,” she says. “Route 66 has been around forever, but we wanted to be radical in our approach of sharing the knowledge about it,” she explains. The resulting e-book is not by a single author, she says. “It’s participatory— it has the expertise of many.” “We’re trying to push the publishing standards of the e-book to incorporate dynamic content,” she continues, “to be more structured, so it becomes a ‘we’ experience.” Innovating across boundaries Michael Morgan’s New Quill project also promotes the “we” experience. “I’m really passionate about bringing people together,” says Morgan. “The Innovation Lab is bringing down walls between

schools at USC—bringing people together on a mass scale to create and innovate.” He believes that the e-book prototype he is producing with Apple’s support will “inspire creativity, narrow the participation gap and turn reading into a community experience for all ages” via audio, video, voice recording, writing, painting, photo and music tools accessible in the same window as the text. “What’s most difficult is to bring together people with different backgrounds,” he continues, alluding to his present duties as an English teacher at Marshall High School in Los Feliz, where “my main job is to bring students from so many parts of the world together.” Hence, he developed the New Quill project to enable students to “create and share as a community, rather than compete.” “High school has become a stressful, competitive space,” Morgan explains. “This helps to turn that model on its head. “By touching on the book, it brings you in,” Morgan continues, explaining that the pilot e-book is a rendition of Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. “The first page has a picture of Twain smoking a

cigar. Touching on it brings up a video of him talking about himself and the historic period.” Users then will be asked to add their own comments to the information. “This encourages content creation and distribution to enhance literacy in a way that the world has never seen before,” Morgan continues. He hopes the application eventually will be shareable through social networks, enabling students from all over the world to collaborate with each other. “Facebook has brought everyone together. I see the next step as being collective intelligence… collaboration on a mass scale. I see this project as a further step toward that eventuality.” Indeed, all of the Innovation Lab projects represent further steps down this road. “Change or reform is not coming from politicians,” Morgan says. “It’s not coming from administrators, and it’s not even coming from teachers. The system will only reform if change comes from the students, and we’re getting closer and closer to that time. Technology is the tool.” To learn more, visit

spring 2011


research news

key role in

Undergraduate students play into film and gender


When communication professor Stacy Smith needs to cast her research team, she knows just the people for the part.

Undergraduate students made an important contribution to a research team assembled by communication professor Stacy Smith when she was analyzing the gender of speaking characters in family films. “Students really get to understand the empirical process in a way that makes their education more meaningful,” Smith says. “They’re not just reading scientific articles, they’re contributing to the generation of knowledge.” The study, titled “Gender Disparity on Screen and Behind the Camera in Family Films,” was a joint effort of Smith, project manager Marc Choueiti and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media Research. After examining films released between 2006 and 2009 and rated G, PG or PG-13, the team showed there were 2.42 male speaking characters for every female. Films with women behind the camera, either as directors, writers or producers, were more likely to feature women characters. “We have found—across different studies—diversity behind the scenes may translate into more diversity on screen. That is important,” says Smith. Smith and Choueiti trained students to code movies for multiple variables, including race, gender and body characteristics. Between three and six students code each movie individually, and then discuss any coding discrepancies as a group led by Choueiti to come to a conclusion. Jessica Stern (B.A. Communication ’10), who was a research assistant during the Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 semesters, says she

Ford Foundation grant

Diane Winston

16 annenberg agenda

Communication professor Stacy Smith (third from left) and researcher Marc Choueiti lead a discussion on gender in film with a group of undergraduate students.

has no doubt the study she helped research will have an impact on the future of the entertainment industry. “As an extension of her project, I feel like I was part of something big and take great pride when I see and hear the support and attention given to it,” Stern says. “I learned that we’re far from reaching gender and race equity in Hollywood—on screen and off—and I am grateful that there are people like Stacy doing something about it.” Communication student Cynthia Momdjian said researching with the team helped her to develop as a student and person. “The fact that I could be a part of defining the entertainment industry has had a lasting effect on me,” Momdjian says. “This wasn’t just reading a book. It’s through practical applications like this that you truly learn about the entertainment industry and everything else in life.” “It’s a great opportunity for undergraduates to be involved with quantitative research in the field of communication,” Choueiti says. “They are motivated, interested and passionate. Our work is better because of them.” To learn more, visit

boosts reporting on religion

Knight Chair in Media and Religion Diane Winston received a $300,000 grant from the Ford Foundation to promote excellence in journalism. The project, “Promoting Excellence in Journalism Reporting on the Intersection of Religion and Domestic Issues,” aims to expand and enhance exemplary coverage of an underreported topic across media platforms. Winston is using the Ford grant to team with the Poynter Institute’s e-learning project, News University, to launch a new online course titled “Religion,

Culture and Society: Getting Beyond the Cliché.” The course is aimed at general assignment reporters, independent journalists and others who do not primarily cover religion as a beat. In addition to the Poynter course, Winston has established a fellowship for reporters: the Knight Luce Fellowship for Reporting on Global Religion. The fellowship offers stipends ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 for American journalists to report and write stories that illuminate how religion crosses geographic, temporal and ideological

borders as well as how it establishes real and virtual boundaries. “These opportunities encourage working journalists to consider what these dynamics reveal about personal identity, political power, the nature of conflict and the construction of community, and provides them with the means to report and distribute these stories,” Winston says.

To learn more about the Knight Chair in Media and Religion, visit

‘No Google for you until you finish your peas, mister’ A new study finds that, in the eyes of Mom and Dad, time on the Internet is the same as time spent in front of the TV. Parents are rapidly coming to view TV and the web in similar ways, applying supervisory approaches to both media, according to a new survey by USC Annenberg’s Center for the Digital Future. Researchers at the Center report parents are limiting their children’s Internet access and television use in nearly identical ways. Three in five American households restrict television use as a punishment. Restricting children’s Internet use as a form of punishment has steadily increased over the years and is now a practice in 57 percent of the nation’s homes with children under 18.

Michael Gilbert, whose work at the center is focused on gender and family issues, believes online community involvements are playing a significant role in reducing family time. “We need to make sure families are reinforced rather than weakened in the digital future,” he says. Dr. Jeffrey Cole, the center’s director, notes that while families have traditionally turned technological advances to their advantage, the interactive demands of digital technologies and social networking threaten to put inordinate stress on the modern family.

To learn more, visit

How much time do my kids spend watching TV?


“Just about the right amount”


“too much”


“Just about the right amount”


“too much”


How much time do my kids spend on the Internet?

new imperative for journalism education

As journalism undergoes a modern metamorphosis, journalism education must transform with it. Journalism school director Geneva Overholser is tasked with making sure students learn the skills they need to lead the paradigm shift. With that objective, Overholser recently used her widely read report—“On Behalf of Journalism: A Manifesto for Change,” first published in June 2006—to frame a new view of journalism education. She released her updated paper, “Applying the ‘Manifesto for Change’ to Journalism Education,” at this summer’s World Journalism Education Congress in Grahamstown, South Africa. Three themes emerged: The role of journalism schools as providers of news; the potential for journalism schools to be the laboratories for new economic models; and the responsibility of journalism educators

to guide citizens’ news literacy (helping them discern and shape credibility in their news environment). Overholser says the most important part of journalism today is deciding which parts of the traditional journalism we are going to keep. “As we move forward, it’s going to be more and more crucial that citizens make choices about what they consume, because that is going to be the determinant of what survives,” Overholser says. “If people want to be well informed, they can be now, better than ever. Or they can be completely overwhelmed with the media equivalent of junk food.”

Geneva Overholser

To learn more, visit spring 2011


Alumni profile

From the research library to the executive suite:

Susan Herbst takes the reins at the University of Connecticut By Jeremy Rosenberg

On a Monday last December, Dr. Susan Herbst (Ph.D. Communication Theory & Research ’89) was appointed president of the University of Connecticut—the first woman to attain that position. The next evening, the school’s women’s basketball team won a major college record-breaking 89th consecutive game. “It’s a big time for UConn women,” Herbst says with a laugh. Each of those news items provides cause for Trojan celebration— and not just because the Huskies hoops squad bested a mark previously belonging to UCLA. Herbst arrived at USC Annenberg as a 21-year-old and left with faculty mentorship, enduring relationships and a dissertation, Numbered Voices: The Rationalization of Public Opinion from Ancient Greece to Modern Times, that soon became a book that later led to a tenure appointment. “I’d like to express my gratitude to USC Annenberg,” Herbst says. “It was really a great environment for intellectual exchange. I look back on it as definitely a golden period, an idyllic time in terms of my own growth as a person and a scholar.” Herbst’s main adviser at USC Annenberg was the late Jim Beniger. Herbst also recalls working closely with Elihu Katz, Peter Clarke and Susan Evans, the latter pair still professors at USC. After graduation, Herbst spent 14 years on the faculty at Northwestern University. In 2003, she became a dean at Temple University. In 2005, SUNY-Albany hired her as provost. By 2007, Herbst was executive vice chancellor and chief academic officer for the University System of Georgia. The latter role meant Herbst was responsible for the education of 300,000 students attending 35 state schools. The system’s annual budget exceeds $6 billion. Herbst’s UConn job officially begins in July, so it’s premature to mention any specific initiatives she might launch. “New presidents like to take some time,” Herbst says, “to come to know the campus and the people and the history.” What motivated Herbst to take the assignment in Storrs? She says she’d been interested in a presidency, wanted to move Northeast—she was born in New York City and raised upstate—and sought to work on behalf of a high-quality, public, flagship institution.

18 annenberg agenda

USC Annenberg alumna Susan Herbst will become the first woman to serve as president of the University of Connecticut when she assumes the position in July.

“Connecticut is a great state that has invested a lot in higher education and, in particular, UConn,” Herbst says. “It’s a beautiful physical plant, and it’s got all the pieces you’d want—it has an engineering school, a medical school, an arts and sciences school, a business school

Alumni notes

and a law school.” She notes, “We don’t have an Annenberg, however.” UConn has separate communication sciences and journalism departments, and neither is its own school. “I’ve seen all the different models,” Herbst says. “I think it’s all about the people, and whether the faculty work together well and whether they see their common interest.” That response is not surprising, considering Herbst’s academic focus on human interaction. She’s the author of numerous books and articles about public opinion, theory, influence and authority, as well as the future of communication research. In a recent essay, Herbst proposed making debate training mandatory for college students—in part because formal debating requires each side to listen to the other. Her latest book, Rude Democracy: Civility and Incivility in American Politics, repudiates the notion that today’s elected officials are less well-mannered than their forebears. The book’s cover depicts the 1856 bloody beating with a cane of Sen. Charles Sumner by Rep. Preston Brooks. “To say that there was once more civility and now things are bad, it’s just not historically accurate,” Herbst says. Rude Democracy is fundamentally about how civility is a “strategic weapon” and not a “state of society,” Herbst says. “It’s a book about how we can build a culture of argument that is passionate, but also still civil.” Those same elements are evident in Herbst’s answers to questions related to her “first woman president” status. The Associated Press led its coverage with that information. UConn’s press release emphasized the news in a stand-alone second paragraph. “I’m sorry that it’s still something that’s a novelty,” Herbst says, noting that while candidate pools and pipelines are growing, only 14% of research university presidents are female. “But I think it’s good to point it out, because maybe it will get more women interested in taking on leadership roles at universities.”

Frank Kwan (B.A. Communication ’71) was named president-elect of the National School Public Relations Association, a professional organization of almost 2,000 members who advance public education through effective communications. Diana Turner (B.A. Journalism ’73) has received her e-Pro designation as a Realtor. She is also on the board of directors for the Association of Trojan Leagues and for the House Board of Kappa Kappa Gamma at USC. Tim Donovan Kent (B.A. Journalism ’76) is the executive director of the North Carolina Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association. Tom Fick (M.A. Journalism ’77) is the executive director of Project: Hollywood Cares, a nonprofit organization that supports U.S. military personnel and veterans. Vicki McCluggage (B.A. Speech Communication ’77) was honored with the President’s Award by the USC Alumni Association at the 2010 Volunteer Recognition Awards. McCluggage has served on a number of USC-affiliated boards, including the USC Annenberg Board of Councilors from 2000 to 2008. Gary Goodman (Ph.D. Speech Communication ’78) penned a new e-book, 77 Best Practices in Negotiation. Patrick McKean (B.A. Journalism ’78), who coordinates the journalism program at Long Beach City College, earned an Excellence Award from the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development. Terry Lindvall (Ph.D. Communication Arts & Sciences ’81) recently released the paperback version of his book Sanctuary Cinema: The Origins of the Christian Film Industry, which earned the Book of the Year Award from the Religious Communication Association.

Ken Waters (Ph.D. Speech Communication ’82) was recently named chair of the communication division at Pepperdine University. Steve Travers (B.A. Communication Arts & Sciences ’83) is working on two new biographies, The Poet: The Life and Los Angeles Times of Jim Murray and The Last Icon: The Town, Times and Teams of Tom Seaver. The latter chronicles the life of a fellow USC Annenberg alumnus. Toper Taylor (B.A. Public Relations ’85), president and COO of Cookie Jar Entertainment, along with executive vice president Tom Mazza (M.A. Communication Management ‘87), recently expanded Cookie Jar’s portfolio with several new primetime projects. Lillibeth Navarro (B.A. Print Journalism ’84, M.A. Public Relations ’86) was recognized for her work as a civil rights advocate in December by President Benigno Aquino III of the Philippines. Navarro received the Pamana ng Pilipino Award, an award conferred on Filipinos who “have brought the country honor and recognition through excellence and distinction in the pursuit of their work or profession.” Guy Gruppie (B.A. Broadcast Journalism ’88) was named by Pasadena magazine as a San Gabriel Valley “Top Attorney” for the second consecutive year, as well as “Southern California Super Lawyer” by Law & Politics Magazine for the third consecutive year. Victoria Hall (B.A. Print Journalism ’88), settled a landmark intellectual property case favorably for her client. The case, Jacobsen v. Katzer, upheld the enforceability of opensource software licenses and was named one of the top 10 intellectual property decisions of 2008. Jill McManigal (B.A. Communication Arts & Sciences ’90) is the co-founder of Kids for Peace, a global nonprofit that provides a platform for young people to actively engage in socially conscious leadership.

spring 2011


Alumni Notes Capt. Mike Carlson (B.A. Print Journalism ’93) returned home from his second combat tour with the Marine Corps in September 2010. He was awarded his second Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal for completing a seven-month mission to protect Camp Leatherneck, a major logistical base in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. Michelle Russo (M.A. Communication Management ’94) recently led a seminar titled “Managing Communications During Crisis: Discovery’s Experience.” As the senior vice president of corporate communications at Discovery Communications, Russo was part of the team that handled messaging to employees, media and community members when a gunman entered the headquarters of Discovery Communications in Maryland in September 2010. Michael Ausiello (B.A. Public Relations ’95) has launched, a website focusing on celebrity culture. Ausiello previously worked for Entertainment Weekly and TV Guide. Ilan Ben-Hanan (B.A. Broadcast Journalism ’00) currently serves as the senior director for West Coast programming at ESPN.

Ben Berkowitz (B.A. Communication ’00) is a U.S. insurance correspondent for Thomson Reuters in New York. He is responsible for reporting on all non-health aspects of the insurance industry. Michelle Kessler (M.A. Print Journalism ’00) has been named the social media editor of USA Today. Matt Matros (B.A. Communication ’01) is one of 20 finalists who participated in the One Man Chicago contest, a competition that embodies physical, professional, charitable and social achievements. Matros is the founder of Protein Bar Chicago, a restaurant and catering company that offers high-protein, low-sugar products.

20 annenberg agenda

Charla Baker-Jackson (M.A. Communication Management ’02) published her first novel, A Brand New Jas, a story about a woman who struggles against time and complacency in search of a balance between love and her career.

Lorena Sanchez (B.A. Public Relations ’05) is a public diplomacy consultant at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Prior to her job at OECD, Lorena was a public diplomacy researcher at the USC Center on Public Diplomacy.

Mark Van Lommel (B.A. Communication ’02) has joined video game publisher Nexon America as a public relations manager.

Monica Sears (B.A. Public Relations/Spanish ’05) currently serves as the director of communications and events at Golden Boy Promotions, a national boxing promotional company based in Los Angeles.

Heather Rim (M.A. Communication Management ’03) was promoted to vice president of corporate communications at Avery-Dennison. Prior to joining Avery-Dennison, she was the vice president of communications at Disney ABC Television Group. Alexandria Sage (M.A. Print Journalism ’03) recently joined Reuters’ Paris bureau to cover politics, economics and general news. Amara Sohn (B.A. Broadcast Journalism ’03) recently anchored NBC’s “Early Today” and “First Look” on MSNBC. Sohn is currently an anchor and reporter for WTVJ-TV, NBC Miami. Ariela Iringan (M.A. Communication Management ’04) is an employee communications program manager at Medtronic. Previously, she was a manager at Deloitte Consulting. Jesse Aron (B.A. Broadcast Journalism ’05) and Jeremy Hall (B.A. Broadcast Journalism ’09) are producing the new Fox Sports program “Lane Kiffin USC Football Weekly,” a show hosted by Lindsay Overman-Soto (B.A. Broadcast Journalism ’98). Matt Cassel (B.A. Communication ’05) had his jersey retired at Chatsworth High. Matt is currently the starting quarterback for the Kansas City Chiefs. Brad Chase (M.A. Strategic Public Relations ’05) joined Capitol Media Partners as a partner. Prior to that, Brad was the director of communications at DaVita Inc.

Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich (B.A. International Relations ’05, M.P.D. Public Diplomacy ’08) interviewed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad during a meeting of the United Nations General Assembly last fall. She published her interview on the website Foreign Policy Journal. Peter Daut (B.A. Broadcast Journalism ’06) recently won an Emmy Award in the category of Best General Assignment Report for “Fort Hood: 48 Hours Later.” He is currently a reporter at KDFW-TV in Dallas. Irene Mason (B.A. Communication ’06) accepted a position at the Polytechnic School in Pasadena, where she will help guide the school’s alumni relations efforts. Shane Sabran (B.A. Communication ’06) is the talent producer and director of research at Global Sports & Entertainment. Sabran’s expertise is in talent management for red-carpet events and large-scale live events. Previously, he was a production assistant for Fox Sports Net. Cameron Bird (B.A. Print Journalism ’07) is the assistant research editor at Wired, where he first started as an editorial intern. Previously, Bird was a freelance reporter for Filter Creative Group and has also written for the Orange County Register, Newsday and Paste. Anthony Borquez (M.A. Communication Management ’07) is the CEO of, a social gaming website.

Daniel Heimpel (M.A. Print Journalism ’07) won the 2010 Price Child Health and Welfare Journalism Award for his website, Fostering Media Connections is a media-driven initiative to speed the implementation of federal foster care reform and improve the foster care system. Katie Kim (B.A. Broadcast Journalism ’07) accepted a position as a reporter for KRQETV in Albuquerque, N.M. Clinton Schaff (M.C.M. Communication Management ’07) was appointed vice president in GolinHarris’ digital and interactive media group, Dialogue. Schaff formerly held the position of director of new media at Roll International in Los Angeles, where he founded and led the interactive communications practice. Catherine Sebring (B.A. Public Relations ’07) is president of Queen of Sports, a sports blog geared toward women. T.J. Stevko (M.A. Communication Management ’07) is a communications analyst at Mercer Consulting. Previously, he was a strategic marketing consultant with the Children’s Bureau. Kristen Stone (B.A. Broadcast Journalism ’07) accepted a producer position on the morning news show at KPIX-TV in San Francisco. Meilee Wong (B.A. Print Journalism ’07) was honored by the USC Alumni Association with the Widney Alumni House Award at the 2010 Volunteer Recognition Awards. Adriana Padilla (M.A. Broadcast Journalism ’08) is a producer for Check Six Productions, where she creates travel webisodes about locations from Delaware to Jamaica. Margaret “Meg” Young (M.P.D. Public Diplomacy ’08) is a vice consul for the U.S. Department of State in Shanghai.

Ryan Furlong (B.A. Print Journalism ’09) is the new-media coordinator for the Office of the Governor of Minnesota. Previously, he was the press assistant for the Tarryl Clark for Congress campaign. Associate producer Lata Pandya (M.A. Broadcast Journalism ’09) and web associate producer Brian Frank (M.A. Online Journalism ’09) contributed to the success of “SoCal Connected,” helping the KCET-TV program earn a duPont-Columbia silver baton for excellence in broadcast journalism. Rachel Thomas (B.A. Broadcast Journalism ’09) was hired as a reporter for WILX-TV in Lansing, Mich. Dejou Bencomo-Jasso (M.A. Communication Management ’10) co-founded Countrybred, a travel agency that provides clients with a unique cultural experience in Europe. Cathleen Cauguiran (B.A. Broadcast Journalism ’08, M.A. Communication Management ’10) was promoted to coanchor of KTVL-TV News10 “Good Morning” in Medford, Ore. Jae Eun Chung (Ph.D. Communication ’10) is an assistant professor of communication at Kent State University. Dominique Fong (B.A. Print Journalism ’10) accepted a one-year internship at The Oregonian, where she will cover city government for the city of Beaverton. Steve Gatena (M.A. Communication Management ’10) recently launched an online real estate video production and marketing company, REP Interactive. Jean Guerrero (B.A. Print Journalism ’10) is a correspondent for Dow Jones Newswires in Mexico City. Guerrero also was one of 10 recipients of the 2010 Hearst Journalism Awards. Sara Harris (M.A. Journalism ’10) launched a public radio magazine, “Hear in the City: Radio Realities From the Urban Landscape.”

Lisa Kourakos (B.A. Communication ’10) is a Teach for America instructor at George F. Kennedy Elementary School in Chelsea, Mass. Kevin Lu (M.A. Broadcast Journalism ’10) is a news and sports multimedia journalist at the ABC affiliate in Wausau, Wis. Evelyn McDonnell (M.A. Specialized Journalism (The Arts) ’10) had a front page article in the Los Angeles Times. She is an assistant professor of journalism and new media at Loyola Marymount University. Jade Miller (Ph.D. Communication ’10) is a Mellon postdoctoral fellow at Tulane University’s Department of Communication. Thomas Pfingsten (M.A. Journalism ’10) and Elizabeth Aguilera (M.A. Journalism ‘10) recently founded TheSouthwest, an online magazine marrying long-form journalism with multimedia. Nardine Saad (M.A. Online Journalism ’10) was accepted into the Tribune Company’s Minority Editorial Training Program, an intensive six-month program that provides journalists with training and experience at a Tribune newspaper of their choice. D. Travers Scott (Ph.D. Communication ’10) recently accepted a position as assistant professor of communication at Clemson University. Cindy Shen (Ph.D. Communication ’10) is an assistant professor of arts and technology at the University of Texas at Dallas. Don Waisanen (Ph.D. Communication ’10) is an assistant professor of communication at Baruch College in New York City. Matthew Weber (Ph.D. Communication ’10) was selected as a finalist for the 2010 Industry Studies Association Dissertation Award. His dissertation, Media Reinvented: The Transformation of News in the Networked Society, explores the progression of online communities, including their growth and eventual decline. Weber is currently a postdoctoral research associate at the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University.

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USC Annenberg Magazine Spring 2011  

Magazine for the Annenberg School at the University of Southern California

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